Review: Far North Spirits Syva Vodka and Gustaf Navy Strength Gin

Two more white spirits from Minnesota-based Far North Spirits, both sporting the company’s exotic Nordic naming scheme. Thoughts follow. Far North Spirits Syva Vodka – Distilled from rye. Immediately odd nose, with heavy, malty grain notes, some hospital notes, and a nutty, almond character that seems to come out of nowhere. On the palate, the…

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Review: The Traveler Beer Co. Seasonal Shandies

Three crafty shandies from Burlington, Vermont-based Traveler Beer Co., each using a wheat ale for a base and with a variety of fruity/sweet additives for spin. Each is fairly low alcohol and, of course, a bit different than your typical suds. Thoughts follow. The Traveler Beer Co. Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy – Slightly sweet, with…

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Review: Sandra Lee Cocktail Time Margarita – Key Lime and Strawberry

Sandra Lee is a celebrity chef (my wife knew who she was anyway) who’s branching out of cookbooks and into… margies! These ready-to-drink margarita cocktails are targeted at the higher shelf consumer, as they’re made with real fruit, cane sugar, and “premium blue agave tequila and triple sec liqueur”? I’m not entirely sure if that…

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Review: Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Century

Jack Daniel’s is making a second stab at Sinatra’s legendary love of JD with another ultra high-end bottling of its signature Tennessee Whiskey. If you thought Sinatra Select was ostentatious, wait’ll you get a load of Sinatra Century, which arrives at more than twice the price. Sinatra Century — bottled in honor of Frank’s 100th birthday…

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Tasting Report: Rosso Montefalco and Montefalco Sagrantino, 2015 Releases

It’s been a year since we checked in with our friends in Montefalco, Umbria, and the time was nigh to revisit the wines of this storied region in Italy. Six wines were tasted as part of this live event broadcast from Italy — four 100% Sagrantino wines and two Rossos, which are only 10 to 15%…

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Review: Maker’s 46 Cask Strength Bourbon (Bill Samuels Jr.’s Private Select) (2015)

Update: In 2017, this product was renamed and rebranded as Bill Samuels Jr.’s Private Select. Maker’s Mark last year put out a widely acclaimed cask strength bottling of its standard Maker’s Mark bourbon. Naturally, a follow-up was in order: A cask strength rendition of Maker’s 46. Same story as last time: This is a barrel proof…

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Review: A Trio of Portuguese Wines – Grous, Ravasqueira, Esporao

Tis the season for Portugeuse vino, with affordable bottlings arriving from all over the small yet vineyard-covered country. Here’s a threesome that represents a range of blended styles common to Portugal. 2012 Herdade dos Grous Vinho Regional Alentejano Tinto – A red blend of aragonez, syrah, alicante bouschet, and touriga nacional from the Alentejano region.…

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Review: Signatory Un-Chillfiltered Collection Mortlach 1998 16 Years Old

This beautiful indie bottling of Mortlach spent 33 months of its 16 years in an Oloroso Sherry butt, then was outturned and bottled at cask strength. Gorgeous color here, with deep aromas of sherry, walnuts, oily leather, and some madeira character. At full strength, it’s quite a blazer. Though it’s barely over 110 proof, this…

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